Mindfulness: Much Sense – the starkest Madness –

by everlivingpoet

Recently, over the past two decades, and now as a kind of verified fad, people have been talking about mindfulness, usually as a means of becoming more effective, successful, and fulfilled. It seems to me that we still cannot talk about meditation as simple, accessible bliss. Intellectuals can complicate it if they want, but in reality that adds little or nothing. Complicating it seems an evasion. Why is this still so external to our way of living and thinking, in the university and outside of it? What if we could start from this understanding that all the answers to our questions are self-evidently indivisible from the nature of awareness itself? If inexpressible or inconceivable bliss is the simple and immediate nature of our minds, why do we go in these crazy loops? Why do we give people degrees for memorizing old knowledge or producing new knowledge, instead of giving degrees to people who practice the dissolution of the knower? Why don’t we seize upon bliss right now? Why do we put it off in time? Why doesn’t every undergrad have to solve the Blakean Koan?

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”

In Buddhism, this attachment to knowledge is explained in terms of the “four faults”:

(1) The mind is too close to be recognized (2) The experience is too profound to comprehend (3) The true nature of mind is too simple to believe (4) Enlightenment is too wonderful for us to accept.

Emily Dickinson, a skilled parrhesiastic, had her own way of putting this:

Much Madness is divinest Sense –
To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense – the starkest Madness –
’Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail –
Assent – and you are sane –
Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –
And handled with a Chain –